The first German airline to use heavier than air aircraft was Deutsche Luft-Reederei established in 1917 which started operating in February 1919. In its first year, the D.L.R. operated regularly scheduled flights on routes with a combined length of nearly 1000 miles. By 1921 the D.L.R. network was more than 3000 km (1865 miles) long, and included destinations in the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the Baltic Republics. Another important German airline was Junkers Luftverkehr, which began operations in 1921. It was a division of the aircraft manufacturer Junkers, which became a separate company in 1924. It operated joint-venture airlines in Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Often the companies combine IT operations, or purchase fuel and aircraft as a bloc to achieve higher bargaining power. However, the alliances have been most successful at purchasing invisible supplies and services, such as fuel. Airlines usually prefer to purchase items visible to their passengers to differentiate themselves from local competitors. If an airline's main domestic competitor flies Boeing airliners, then the airline may prefer to use Airbus aircraft regardless of what the rest of the alliance chooses.